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1. Watercolour Workshop: Less is More!


As part of my residency, I ran another of my empowerment workshops recently, working with the academics at the Morgan Centre. My merry band of would-be sketchers were all given a free set of watercolours at the outset and, although we did do some playing around with them during our very first meeting, I have noticed that most people aren't really using them. Not surprising - I know some very seasoned sketchers who are still terrified of watercolour.


So, I thought we would do some work with paint, to get them more familiar with how it feels and to discover some of the simple but effective things you can do. 

For people to feel comfortable, it is vital that these workshops are fun and that results are acheivable. I need people to not only learn useful techniques, but to enjoy the session sufficiently that they are inspired to give things a go when they are on their own, with the SCARY blank page.



First of all, we used wet paper and explored simple mark-making methods, introducing watercolour to the page, but then leaving it alone, letting the water take it off to interesting places, resisting the urge to scrub and mix. 

Then I asked people to see if they could see an image in the blobs and squiggles. The challenge was to use as few drawn marks as possible to turn the splodges into something. Love these funky birds:


Next, we played a game in pairs, where people took it in turns to add a mark to a shared painting, building up images which were initially abstract, but waiting for the suggestion of something representational to emerge. It's fun because people sometimes have different ideas of where it's going. You can choose to cooperate with your partner, or you can subvert their ideas as you see them emerging and deliberately take it off on a different track.


The idea of the exercise was to get people painting freely, but to keep it light-hearted and devoid of expectation. I wanted them to learn how the paint worked - what consistency to use, which colours reacted together well, the difference between working onto wet and dry paper - all this, without any pressure to create something successful.


Finally, I asked them to use the techniques we had learnt, to do a very quick watercolour sketch of an item of fruit or veg that I'd asked everyone to bring. I showed them how you can restrict where the wet paint is going to go, by creating the shape of your object in water first, then quickly introducing the paint while it's wet. This is my 10-second mango:



I asked people to use only 2 or 3 colours and to let the paint settle on its own, as before. Finally, to finish off with the minimal amount of line-work needed to make the object identifiable. This is my example apple and satsuma:



We suddenly ran out of time and everyone had to rush off, so I only got a photo of one person's painting, this gorgeous garlic. Quite a tricky thing to choose, particularly as an absolute beginner, but she did a fantastic job:


Everyone did really well. Their 'homework' was to go away and use the techniques in their sketchbooks over the next few weeks. My hope is that the workshop demonstrated that you can be quite free and easy with watercolour and still get quite dramatic results, by sticking to a few simple rules:

* Use water first to tell the paint where to go and to give you lovely marks
* Limit yourself to 2 or 3 colours
* Let the paint do its thing - don't fiddle and scrub!
* Less is more: you often don't need outlines


If you are afraid of watercolour, give it a whirl. You need plenty of clean water, a hairdryer to encourage the drying along and a good size brush, so you get enough paint down. Watercolour paper is ideal, but we only had ordinary cartridge paper books to work in and, as you can see, it was fine. So long as it isn't too flimsy. Have fun!

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2. A Book for Passionate Creators + a Giveaway

Have you lost your muse? Create Now is the kind of book you need to help you transform your creative process and get you inspired to write.

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3. Switch by Ingrid Law, 368pp, RL 4



In 2009 Ingrid Law's debut middle grade novel, Savvy, won a Newbery Honor. I absolutely fell in love with the book that introduced the amazing Beaumont family and their special, supernatural abilities that surfaced exactly on one's thirteenth birthday, to the world. You can read my review here. And, as much as I loved Savvy, I am embarrassed to say that I did not read the follow up sort-of-sequel that came out in 2010, Scumble. Scumble featured a cousin of the now grown-up Mibs, who narrated Savvy as an almost thirteen-year-old, and I wanted more of the Beaumonts. Happily, Switch, this new, second sequel to Savvy does feature the Beaumont family again - and some new friends.

At the start of Switch, which begins ten years after Savvy ends, we meet narrator Gypsy Beaumont, a few months after her thirteenth birthday. Ten years on and the Beaumont household is a little different. The three oldest siblings have moved out. Mibs is twenty-three and engaged and Fish is married. Samson, the broody, reclusive six-year-old from Savvy now has his own savvy. Samson can turn invisible and, while he is invisible, he charges up like a battery, "giving him a storehouse of inner strength he could pass to other people with a touch." Then there is Tucker, the almost-eight-year-old baby of the family who wants to be big like everyone else so that he can have a savvy of his own. Even without her new savvy, the ability to see glimpses of people's pasts and futures, Gypsy is having some growing pains. Once a free spirited kid who loved to dance, twirl and put flowers in her hair, Gypsy has begun to question herself after her former best friend censors her.

But, for the Beaumonts, an even bigger censor - or buzzkill - is headed their way. Mrs. Beaumont's father, the beloved Grandpa Bomba, has passed away and his empty room is about to be filled by the narrow minded Grandma Pat, Mr. Beaumont's mother. Mr. Beaumont is the one family member without a savvy and his mother has always disapproved of his wife and their offspring, or the "fiendish horde of rabble-rousers," as she refers to them. Grandma Pat's neighbors, the Drs Kim, have let Mr. Beaumont know that his mother is suffering from Alzheimer's and can no longer live on her own. Grandma Pat is such a mean old sourpuss that breaking the news that she'll be moving in with them seems to throw the family into a swirling savvy-storm after which everyone's savvies switch. The perfect Mrs. Beaumont is now clumsy, instead of becoming invisible, Samson now bursts into flames and instead of seeing the past and the future, Gypsy finds that she can now stop time. Most surprisingly, little Tucker now has the ability to explode in size when he's upset, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, only to be shrunk back with candy.

Ingrid Law is one of the few kid's book authors I can think of who writes a great road trip novel, and Switch is definitely another one of them. Mrs. Beaumont, Gypsy and Tucker hit the road, with Samson driving, to pick up Grandma Pat in Evergreen, Colorado, with Mr. Beaumont following a day behind in a moving van. Upon arrival, they discover that Grandma Pat is worse off than they realized and that the fifteen-year-old daughter of the Drs. Kim, Nola, is the only person she is pleasant to. To make things worse, Gypsy had a vision of the future before arriving in Evergreen that showed Grandma Pat in a dusty old ball gown, a tiara and snow boots perched atop the clock tower of a very old building. Gypsy saw her own hands reaching out of the building to save her, but does not know if she succeeded. From the moment they reach Evergreen, Gypsy spends every minute trying to decode the vision and keep Grandma Pat from getting to the top of that tower. 

Law throws a whole heap of crazy things between Grandma Pat and that clock tower on a snowy night - like two car crashes, a blizzard, a pimply bully, a fellow named Del who has the same birthday as Gypsy (and Grandma Pat) and is not affected by her time stops (allowing him to say things like, "You and I appear to have an unmoving minute on our hands,"), make-up makeovers, Volcano Laverne's Hawaiian BBQ and Waffle House, a stollen kitten, a long-ago Winter Formal and a lost love. All this plus the switched savvies of the Beaumonts and it is definitely a wild, crazy, wacky ride - and Law's charming colloquialisms, made up words like "Sardoodledom" and everything I loved about Savvy comes rushing back to me.

And, as with Savvy, Switch is about family sticking by each other, even when you want to run away from someone like Grandma Patrice. Near then end of the novel Gypsy asks her Momma why she thinks their savvies got switched up. Mrs. Beaumont replies, "Maybe, sweetheart, when faced with a situation we can't change, we find extraordinary ways to change ourselves instead." This could be the tagline for the novel itself. When faced with the challenge of caring for a loved one, especially a less than friendly loved one, the Beaumonts changes themselves to meet the challenge. And that's what family does.




Source: Review Copy


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4. Harold Speed, "On Painting a Head"

Today we'll continue Chapter 9: "Painting from the Life" from Harold Speed's 1924 art instruction book Oil Painting Techniques and Materials.
I'll present Speed's main points in boldface type either verbatim or paraphrased, followed by comments of my own. If you want to add a comment, please use the numbered points to refer to the relevant section of the chapter.

Today we'll cover pages 144-157, "On Painting a Head."

Harold Speed, Old Tom, courtesy BBC

1. "Before commencing, select the colors you will need and choose the fewest that will serve your purpose."
This is good advice that will reduce confusion, eliminate habits of color mixing, and yield harmony in the final result.

2. Don't take the colors as they come from the tube; Mix your own colors.
Also a good idea. You can create your gamut primaries, instead of using the colors as they happen to come from the tube. So here you're not mixing the particular notes of your scene, but rather you're mixing the ingredients of your color scheme. Instead of using yellow ochre and cad yellow as separate palette colors you can mix the two, and then use that mixture as your gamut anchor. For example he recommends mixing Indian red and burnt sienna. This is what the manufacturers do, mixing pigments to get convenience colors.

3. "The paint as supplied in tubes is a little stiffer than is always comfortable to paint with, and it is as well to thin the white by mixing up some of your medium with it."
I find the opposite is often a problem with modern paint. Paint often comes out of the tube too runny. In that case you can stiffen tube colors by first placing them on blotter paper (or other absorbent paper or cardboard) a few hours before you need to use them. As Speed suggests, it's good to have some "stiff white" about the consistency of butter always available on your palette for impasto-rich highlights.

4. Sequence: background, hair, forehead (middle tone), planes of lower face, eye socket, nose, highest light in forehead, etc.
It might seem difficult to follow this procedure in the form of text, given that we're used to seeing videos that show the process much more clearly. But try to visualize it. This is close as we're going to get to a time machine back to the Royal Academy.

5. "In the case of a short portrait sitting...do not attempt any more complications in your tones. Keep them flat and simple at first."
Put your work into refining the edges instead of refining the tones. I would say to think of the head as a roughly carved block at this stage, and rejoice that there aren't too many details to worry about.

6. "Always paint with the least amount of paint that will get the effect you want. Reserve thick paint for those occasions when you want to make a crisp touch quite separate from what it is painted into."
For beginning painters there's a lot to think about when you mix a color: value, color temperature, hue, chroma, and now you've got to think about paint thickness, not to mention what brush to use, etc. As you read Speed talking about his thought process, note what considerations are foremost at each stage. Value judgments are most important at first, then edges become vitally important, then he's thinking about warm versus cool differences. 

7. Carefully define the eye sockets before detailing the eye.
Speed probably learned this method from watching Sargent, who was said to paint an eye in this way, like making a frying pan (eye socket) and dropping an eye into it (the egg). Later Speed says: "Remember the eye is a cavity, through which is pushed the globe of the eye, on which the eyelids are placed. The eyelids therefore partake of the spherical form, as do also the 'whites' of the eye."

8. "You should always talk to your sitters if you want to keep them alive."
Many first hand sources attest to the fact that portrait painters of the past talked to their models while they painted them. This is one of the most important points that is generally missed by modern practitioners. It makes all the difference in the disposition of the face and the expression of the model.  Sleepy, dull models yield sleepy, dull portraits. Talking models yield portraits that are alive. There's no getting around it. Here's a previous blog post "Talking Models" on the topic and another post "Speaking Likeness" on the same subject.

Detail of a portrait by Velazquez
9. The under eyelid: "I know of no part of a head that so easily shows the hand of a master as the painting of the under eyelid."
To find some examples of plane breakdowns as suggested in the detailed discussion on pages 153-155, such as the "three cherries" of the lips, etc. I recommend the anatomy books by Vanderpoel, Loomis, Peck, and others.

10. "Having laid in your work with the muted middle tones, you will be able to use much purer colour in the later stages, as they will be quieted by mixing with the middle tones already there."

11. "Finish is not necessarily the addition of details, but of refinements."
Try to accomplish what Speed calls oneness of impression, and look for that quality in the great portraits of Sargent, Velazquez, and Rembrandt. Accents are last, and you can think of the whole head painting as a setup for those last highlights and accents.


Next week—we'll continue with the chapter with the section beginning on 157.
-----
In its original edition, the book is called "The Science and Practice of Oil Painting." Unfortunately it's not available in a free edition, but there's an inexpensive print edition that Dover publishes under a different title "Oil Painting Techniques and Materials (with a Sargent cover)," and there's also a Kindle edition.
----
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5. Best Friends Whenever Would You Rather

Best Friends Whenever Would You Rather

Are you a fan of Disney’s new show Best Friends Whenever starring Landry Bender (from Crash & Bernstein) and Lauren Taylor? They play high school best friends Cyd and Shelby, but when their cute neighbor Barry’s science experiment goes crazy, they find themselves able to time travel!

Would you rather . . .Best Friends Whenever

  1. Time travel back to see the day you were born OR forward to the day you get married?
  2. Have twin brothers like Shelby OR live in Peru like Cyd’s parents?
  3. Jump back in time to kindergarten OR forward to senior year in high school?
  4. Argue with your best friend OR argue with your sibling?
  5. Go back in time to stop the sinking of the Titanic OR stop the Civil War?
  6. Travel back in time to see your teachers as kids OR the olden days to see your great, great grandparents as kids?
  7. Travel back in time to see your parents as teenagers OR travel forward in time to see your future kids as teenagers?
  8. Have your best friend live with you for a year OR go away for a year with your parents?
  9. Be able to time travel OR do magic?

Give us your “best answers whenever” and let us know what you think of Best Friends Whenever in the Comments below!

-Ratha

 

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6. पानी पीने के फायदे

पानी पीने के फायदे अगर वजन कम करना है तो खाने के साथ साथ खूब सारा पानी पीना भी बहुत जरुरी होता है. डाइट प्लान का महत्वपूर्ण हिस्सा है पानी… आज मुझे अपनी सहेली मणि पर बहुत बहुत गुस्सा आ रहा है मेरा मन तो है कि उसे अनफ्रैंड ही कर दूं पर कर नही […]

The post पानी पीने के फायदे appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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7. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 83 - 2.10.16


Alas, the Supreme Court recently put the White House's carbon pollution limits on hold. Thusly, despite President Obama's best intentions, the hands of progress are currently tied...

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8. SNOWY VALENTINE Children's Read Aloud Along Story Book

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9. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, FeaturingRoger Duvoisin, Crockett Johnson, and William Steig

“It doesn’t pay to get too fonda /Your python or your anaconda.”— From Consider the Lemming   — From the endpapers of Donkey-Donkey   “There was a little little bird.”— From The Happy Egg(Click image to see spread with text and in its entirety)   Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got Valentine’s Day on the […]

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10. Cairo International Book Fair report

       In Al-Ahram Weekly Nevine El-Aref reports on the recent Cairo International Book Fair, in Of books and bread.

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11. Day 12: “Trombone Shorty”

trombone shorty by Jonathan Mannion

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews was a child prodigy who began playing the trombone at the age of four, a discarded trombone that was twice as long as he was tall. By age six he was leading his own money-earning band, and by ten he was a bona fide touring musician. Today, at 30 years old, he is a Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist, playing not only trombone, but trumpet, drums, organ and tuba with his current band, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.

Andrews credits his singer-songwriter grandfather, Jessie Hill, and especially his bandleader brother, James Andrews, as significant influences. Of his brother James (also a trumpeter) he often asserts, “He taught me everything I know.” Young “Shawty” performed with many heavy hitters, including Bo Diddley, Wynton Marsalis, and Wycliffe Gordon, and he learned much about the craft of making music through their mentorship. Over the years, however, Andrews has blazed a distinctive path in the jazz world, fusing elements of modern rock and hip-hop to formulate a sound he calls “SupaFunkRock”.

At the same time he’s been forging innovative sounds, Andrews has also maintained his dedication to New Orleans, the city he says “raised him”, by working to preserve its musical traditions. He has established the Trombone Shorty Foundation “to preserve and perpetuate the unique musical culture of New Orleans by passing down its traditions to future generations of musicians.” The foundation sponsors two intiatives in particular: The Fredman Music Business Institute (providing top-level music industry training to high school students) and Trombone Shorty Academy (a partnership with Tulane University to provide musically gifted high schoolers with mentorship in various areas including reading and writing music, and performance).

In line with his mission to perpetuate New Orleans’ unique musical culture, Andrews has written an autobiographical picture book: Trombone Shorty. It’s the story of how a young Troy Andrews became Trombone Shorty, and how practice and persistence transformed a dream into the reality of being an internationally celebrated artist.

trombone shorty cover

Trombone Shorty—illustrated by Bryan Collier and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers—is a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book and winner of the 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.

 

The Buzz on Trombone Shorty:

“Where y’at?” Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, opens his book with this phrase, letting readers know that it’s New Orleans parlance for hello. In this stunning picture book autobiography, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Andrews shares the story of his early years growing up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. Andrews desperately wished to emulate the musicians in his family and those he saw performing all over his city, so he and his friends made their own instruments out of found materials, played in the streets, and marched with bands. When one day he found a battered, discarded trombone bigger than he was, Andrews finally had a real instrument to play, and he practiced day and night, acquiring the nickname Trombone Shorty from his older brother. The moment Bo Diddley pulled Andrews on stage to play with him during the New Orleans jazz festival was a turning point, and he hasn’t stopped performing since. Collier’s beautiful watercolor, pen-and-ink, and collage artwork picks up the rhythm and pace of Andrew’s storytelling, creating an accompaniment full of motion and color. Each spread offers a visual panoply of texture, perspective, and angles, highlighting the people and the instruments. Andrews’s career is still on the rise, his music gaining an ever wider audience, and this title will be an inspiration to many. VERDICT Coupled with a selection of Trombone Shorty’s music, this work will make for fun and thoughtful story sharing. A must-have.”— School Library Journal

 

“This well-told and exquisitely illustrated story of a musician with a steep career trajectory will inspire young readers to pursue their passions, despite the challenges.”— Kirkus, Starred Review

 

“If a fairy tale were set in New Orleans, this is how it would read.”—Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

 

Learn more about Trombone Shorty:

His Website

An Interview with Vibe Magazine

 

 

 

 


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12. Bottom's Dream - the cover

       So at the Amazon.com page (and Amazon.co.uk, etc.) they now have a cover up for the forthcoming-from-Dalkey Archive Press John E. Woods translation of Arno Schmidt's long- and much-anticipated (and long, and weighty) Bottom's Dream:

Bottom's Dream


       Hurrah ! (Also because this is yet another indication that the book will actually appear ... until I see it, I will harbor some doubts .....)
       Stark and simple, like most of the German covers -- but good to see John E. Woods' name and role prominently featured.

       Still a few months until it is (supposed to be) out -- but meanwhile remember: The School for Atheists is a great starter-Schmidt/preparation volume -- and, of course, for more Schmidt background, there's always my Arno Schmidt: a centennial colloquy (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).

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13. Friday Linky List - 12 February 2016

From PW: 'A Long Walk to Water' Sells 1M Copies!

From The Bookseller: Google launches e-book 'experiment'

From SLJs Fuse #8 by Betsy Bird: Walking and Talking with . . . M.T. Anderson - have you seen these? They're very cool!

From PW: Is Amazon Opening More Bookstores? It's Hiring Booksellers. WOW. This is potentially huge news, and ripe for debate...

From PW: Angouleme Comics Festival Overshadowed by Gaffes, Protests Over Sexism - what a stink!

From The Guardian: Libraries saved me, now they need rescuing - Karin Slaughter - Go Karin!

From the Paisley Piranha Blog: F**k, fudge, frick, fug, flip, fiddlesticks... Dealing with swearing in children's book writing

At Sequential Art (via SCBWI British Isles): Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics - Exhibition at House of Illustration, London

From PW: Agate Unveils African American Children's Imprint - with books by my friend Denene Millner!

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14. found: some inspiration

My neighbor and fellow poet here in Maryland, Laura Shovan, celebrates her birthday month each year with a series of daily writing prompts.  She writes every day and invites anyone else so inclined to join her.  This February Laura has made a collection of intriguing found objects captured in photographs, and you can read her introduction to the project here.
 
I can almost never keep up with a poem a day in February, but I like to jump in when I can.  This week I wrote about these two found objects:

http://laurashovan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mayr.jpg
stone face in the wood

             
lost not found | Day 8


bold white bruin man
where your boulder feet?
where your legs,
your stone torso,
your swinging arms?

they crash on
through the forest:
white columns of motion
can’t think what they’ve lost,
lost on the way
bare gash of narrow eye
bare slash of missing mouth

–Heidi Mordhorst 2016
all rights reserved


http://laurashovan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Simon.jpg
lotus seed pods
anthropology | Day 10

once thought to be
an elaborately carved musical
instrument used
only on the wedding day
of a woman born under
the eleventh moon,

it is now understood to be
a deliberately culled muscular
implement used
only on the winding way
of a man burned under
the oppressive soon

context is everything

                                                                   Heidi Mordhorst 2016
                                                                                          all rights reserved 
   
And because I do profess to write for children, I had a second go at this one with that audience in mind:

Making Sense

First it’s something to see–
almost black among the greens and yellows,
scalloped around the edges like
crayon clouds or flowers,
clouds full of black hailstones–
or it’s a leopard-skin jellyfish.

Next it’s something to hold–
not weighty like a microphone
or a metal shower head,
but light and hollow, not plastic
and not wood, part smooth
and part ridged and rumpled.

Now it’s something to hear–
take it by the curving handle oh!
is that a stem? and shake, shake
shake–those blackish beads or
beans or oh! they’re seeds!
they make a marvelous rattling!

~Heidi Mordhorst 2016
all rights reserved

And now, for Day 12, we have this "found object:"

snow moon full cream

http://laurashovan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/buffy.jpg
when somewhere
    water bound in ice
under the crust of the moon
when someday
    water breaks from ice
up to the dust of the moon
it mounds to this:
    canyons and craters
soft peaks of moon rock
     swirling and moist   
seas of
     clouds of vapor
     islands of nectar
oceans of
      sweet serenity
      tranquil fecundity
snow moon full cream
deep space

Heidi Mordhorst 2016
all rights reserved

It's rather freeing to just jump in, write it down, click it out...and interesting to see what comes of writing late when half asleep!  You can enjoy lots more poems (and some prose) about these found objects over at Laura's new blog, and I'll be giving her a break by hosting the project on Day 15, next Monday--but not before joining in the announcement of the Cybils Poetry Award winner on Sunday (with love)!

Kimberley has the round-up today at her blog...  find your way to some poetry objects over there!






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15. Worm Loves Worm – Perfect Picture Book Friday and Diversity Day

Title: Poet: Worm loves Worm Written by: J. J. Austrian illustrated by: Miike Curato Published by: Balzer & Bray, Jan 5th, 2016 Themes: celebration of love, marriage, wedding, worms Ages: 3-7 Opening: Worm loves Worm. “Let’s be married.” says Worm to Worm. Synopsis: A worm meets another worm and falls in love. One proposes; … Continue reading

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16. Cover Reveal: The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

You know where I lived for eleven years of my New York City life?  Harlem. You know where no one, aside from Walter Dean Myers, ever sets a middle grade novel?  Harlem.  Greenwich Village, Brooklyn, even Queens get more love than Harlem in books for 9-12 year olds.  So you might understand why I’m happy a middle grade novel is set there at long last.  Today’s cover reveal comes via YA-author-turned-middle-grade-writer Elizabeth Eulberg.  Ladies and gentlemen I give you . . .

GreatShelbyHolmes

The quick and dirty:

Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen—always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes.

When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. The easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that’ll take both their talents to crack.

Elizabeth Eulberg was born and raised in Wisconsin before heading off to college at Syracuse University and making a career in the New York City book biz. Now a full-time writer, she is the author of The Lonely Hearts ClubProm & PrejudiceTake a BowRevenge of the Girl with the Great PersonalityBetter Off Friends, and We Can Work it Out. She lives outside of Manhattan with her three guitars, two keyboards, and one drumstick. Visit her online at www.elizabetheulberg.com and on twitter at @ElizEulberg.

So that is that.  The book is on sale September 6th  and is the first in a three book series. Thanks to Lizzy Mason and the folks at Bloomsbury for the reveal.

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17. Poetry Friday -- Found Object Poem Project


Photo by Jone MacCulloch

"A pipe gives a wise man time to think 
and a fool something to stick in his mouth." 
- C.S. Lewis.


Packing the tobacco correctly is as
Important as the
Proper breaking in of the pipe.
Each pipe
Smokes differently, and a good smoker can
Make one last up to 45 minutes.
One must tap the dottle from the bowl,
Know how to ream the pipe, and
Embrace the subtleties of the experience --
Rather like shooting or fly fishing or drinking
Scotch.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016


This is my favorite of the poems I wrote this week for Laura Shovan's month-long Found Object Poem Project. I got the object wrong -- it's not a pipe-reamer, it's a blood-letter -- but I had fun with the poem, so we'll claim success! 

I interviewed the former pipe-smoker who lives in my house and took these notes:


In case you're curious, to break in a pipe, you have to char the bowl gradually by smoking just a little tobacco, then a little more, then a little more. (Who knew?!?!)

I originally thought the word in my acrostic would be tobacco, but for more variety of letters, I went with pipe smokers. 

Kimberley has today's Poetry Friday roundup at Written Reflections. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!



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18. Read or Ditch: INTO THE DIM by Janet B. Taylor

by andye I was really excited to get INTO THE DIM by Janet B. Taylor in the mail. I love books about time travel, and this cover looked really great. When I read the description and it takes place in Scotland, I was really intrigued. HELLO! Outlander for teens?? Yes! But there have been quite a few things as I've been reading, made me think that this book isn't going to be for me. The first

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19. Daniel Radcliffe to star in psychological thriller, ‘Jungle’

Dan Radcliffe certainly has a busy schedule with his upcoming roles in Imperium and Now You See Me: The Second Act, and he is now set to star in Jungle a thriller based on Yossi Ghinsberg’s memoir of his trip to the Amazon.

A young adventurer who trekked into the Amazon with two friends and a guide, Ghinsberg’s expedition soon took a dangerous and deadly turn. The Discovery Channel included Ghinsberg’s story in a docudrama series: I Shouldn’t Be Alive.

The psychological thriller is set to be directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek), and Justin Monjo is in charge of the script. Dana Lustig, Gary Hamilton and Mike Gabrawy will co-produce alongside director McLean, with Todd Fellman as executive producer.

The Hollywood Reporter reports:

Screen Australia and Screen Queensland have supported development and invested in the project, which is eyeing a shoot later in 2016 in Australia, among other locations.

“We’re extremely excited about Daniel Radcliffe joining the cast of Jungle,” says Gary Hamilton, managing director of Arclight Films. “He has an enthusiastic global fan base, a wide range as an actor as evident by his diversity of roles and is known for picking out unique and interesting projects.”

Dan is has favoured darker genres after his involvement in the Potter films. The Woman in Black, Kill Your Darlings, Horns and Victor Frankenstein all show Radcliffe’s talent for picking diverse characters to portray, and his latest appearance in Swiss Army Man (which received mixed reviews) depicts his venturing into more ‘unique’ independent films.

His upcoming appearances in Imperium and Now You See Me: The Second Act will add to his diverse array of roles, and with any luck, Jungle will continue to depict his talent!

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20. Top 3 Mystery Novels set in London | Selected by Carina Axelsson, Author of Model Undercover: London

Mysteries and London go together like tea and cake or jeans and Converse. Although not all of my favourite English mysteries take place in London, many do. Here are three (okay, maybe a few more than just three) of my top mystery novels set in London.

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21. Dame Maggie Smith’s interview with ‘The Evening Standard’ on winning Best Actress

Last Sunday, Dame Maggie Smith was named Best Actress at the Evening Standard British Film Awards for The Lady in the Van. The Evening Standard caught up with Dame Smith to talk about Sunday’s awards and her wide-ranging career.

On her latest win, Smith remained modest as ever, highlighting the brilliance of the actresses she was up against:

“Quite honestly, the things one was up against, it doesn’t seem fair,” she says. “Brooklyn [starring Saoirse Ronan], and 45 Years in which Charlotte [Rampling] was so terrific, and Sicario [with Emily Blunt], although I didn’t really get that…” 

She puts on a Uriah Heep voice: “I just feel ever so ‘umble. It does seem awfully unfair and I can’t help feeling it’s because I am so old.”

The interview developed more on recent interviews about Smith’s early career conducted by LA Times (read here) and CBS News (here). Smith tells more about her portrayal of The Lady in the Van‘s Mary Shepherd in Nicholas Hytner’s West End production in 1999, alongside writer Alan Bennett:

“I was fascinated by the mystery of her,” says Smith. “And of Alan, the way he coped with it and put up with her. I don’t know who was the oddest. You just wonder where her head was. You think ‘confused’ but she was very clear in what she thought, trying to form these political parties and writing letters to [Seventies TV personality] Eamonn Andrews and all that. 

“As I have got older I wonder how the hell she did it. Honest to God, the filming finished me off and that was sort of deluxe. The van was… cleansed from time to time.” She couldn’t have been the Good Samaritan Bennett was, she says.

A film was immediately mooted in 1999 — “the material is actually more filmic” — but for some reason was only made 15 years later. “Whether it was just that Alan decided he wanted to do it, or Nick nagged him, I don’t know,” says Smith. “It certainly wasn’t me! I didn’t go on about it at all. But I was very pleased to sort of finish her off in a way.” 

The loss of Alan Rickman is also mentioned in the interview, along with the recent passing of Frank Finlay – another member of the first National Theatre company in 1962. Smith starred as Desdemona alongside Finlay (who portrayed Iago) in Laurence Oliver’s Othello:

“One night dear Frank came off stage and he flew to the prompt corner and started tearing at his eyes, like Oedipus,” she recalls. “I got very worried, and went over, and said ‘Are you all right?’. He had terribly bad sight, Frank, and was wearing contact lenses, which he never normally wore, and he said: ‘I’ve just seen Sir Laurence for the first time! And I never want to do it again.’” 

She gives a husky laugh, then says: “You get a bit wobbly, you know, when you get to a certain age. It [mortality] seems to be too near.”

For the first time in her career, Maggie Smith has found herself a lot less busy, and whilst The Evening Standard picks up on the fact that she hasn’t much relished the fame brought on by her roles in Potter and Downton, Smith still finds the quietness ‘weird':

Margaret Natalie Smith was born in Romford but moved to Oxford aged four, her father a pathologist and her mother a secretary who thought young Maggie would never work on stage “with a face like that”. Actually, Smith says, she benefited from not being a “juve”, or ingénue, and has worked constantly, though latterly she’s been stuck playing “’orrible old women”. This is the first time in her career that she hasn’t had a job to go to, “and it’s weird, because suddenly there is no shape to anything”.

On the prospect of taking up future work, Smith says ‘big TV shows’ are out of the option, but on a role in film, she retains her sense of humour and answers:

“I can’t think what the part would be, can you?” she says. “It’ll be another old bag won’t it, hurr-hurr-hurr.”

Smith tends to keep her personal life away from the press, but her spoke briefly about her marriages:

Smith was married to the fiery but rackety actor Robert Stephens for seven years and they had two sons, Toby Stephens and Chris Larkin, both actors “and both out in South Africa at the moment, can you believe, doing this thing called Black Sails, being piratical”. 

After her divorce from Stephens in 1974 she married playwright Beverley Cross in 1975. He died in 1998; Robert Stephens had died in 1995. Smith says it doesn’t get any easier being on her own, especially when fans intrude. But she doesn’t think she’ll enjoy an autumnal romance like the one her friend Judi Dench is having: “No, I don’t think I would get that lucky. I don’t think I would find anybody who would come anywhere near Bev.”

Given how rare interviews with Dame Maggie are, we’re very lucky to have had so many recently! Read the rest of the interview here, and make sure you catch her latest award-winning performance in The Lady in the Van.

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22. माता सरस्वती शारदा

 माता सरस्वती शारदा आप सभी को  बसंत पंचमी की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं … हे माता सरस्वती शारदा माता सरस्वती शारदा विद्यादानी दयानी दुःख हरिणी जगत जननी ज्वालामुखी माता सरस्वती शारदा हे माता सरस्वती शारदा विद्यादानी दयानी दुःख हरिणी जगत जननी ज्वालामुखी माता सरस्वती शारदा हे माता सरस्वती शारदा कीजे सुदृष्टि सेवक जान अपना इतना वरदान दीजे […]

The post माता सरस्वती शारदा appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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23. Great Websites for Kids

I'm back from vacation and blogging for ALSC today.
 
Click on over to the ALSC Blog and check out the list of eight new sites added to ALA's Great Websites for Kids, the online resource featuring hundreds of links to exceptional websites for children. [http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2016/02/eight-new-sites-added-to-great-websites-for-kids/]

Have a great weekend!

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24. Eight new sites added to Great Websites for Kids

GWS logo

On behalf of the Great Websites for Kids Committee, I’d like to share our latest additions.  We’re happy to have some Spanish language sites to include this time, and wish to thank REFORMA for its assistance in providing us a representative.

If you missed our recent press release, the following are the newest sites added to Great Websites for Kids, the online resource featuring hundreds of links to exceptional websites for children.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics K-12  http://www.bls.gov/k12/home.htm      Bureau of Labor Statistics provides resources for students and educators on employment and career outlooks. Enjoy playing a game to understand a concept and use the resource section for school assignments all on one site!
  • Bystander Revolution   http://www.bystanderrevolution.org/ Search this site to find ideas about how to deal with bullying from folks who have been bullies, targets and bystanders.  Watch videos by subject and sign up to take your own stand against bullying!
  • Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius    http://pbskids.org/fetch/ruff/ Videos to help kids make good decisions about texting, sharing photos, and other media literacy topics.
  • Space Racers   http://spaceracers.org/en Kids can explore space through a series of videos, games and printable activities complete with NASA approved science.
  • PBS Kids Design Squad  http://pbskids.org/designsquad Kids can safely share their engineering ideas and sketches, and be inspired by how-to videos and real-world projects.
  • Virtual Museum of Canada   http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/about-vmc/   This online museum provides as diverse collection of online exhibits pertaining to Canadian hertiage. Virtual exhibits are provided by Canada’s museums, educational institutions and heritage organizations.
  • Disney Junior: Disney Latino (Spanish)  http://disneyjunior/disneylatino.com Interactive site with videos, games, princesses stories, and activities of popular Disney characters. It also includes links for smartphones applications. | Página interactiva con vídeos, juegos, cuentos de princesas y actividades de personajes populares de Disney. También incluye enlaces para applicaciones de teléfonos móviles.
  • Clic Clic Cuentos Interactivos (Spanish) http://www.cuentosinteractivos.org    Clic Clic Cuentos Interactivos is a fun interactive site that features imaginative problem solving and alternate versions of popular stories. | Clic Clic Cuentos Interactivos es una página interactiva divertida que contiene actividades de resolución de problemas y versiones alternas de cuentos populares.

We hope that you will find these and other Great Websites for Kids to be useful tools for you and your library patrons. Sites are searchable by keyword or eight classifications (Animals, The Arts, History & Biography, Literature & Languages, Mathematics & Computers, Reference Desk, Sciences, and Social Sciences). The committee works diligently to find and evaluate new sites, and to weed out previously added sites that haven’t maintained “great” status.

We can always use your help!

If you know of a great site that you would like to have us consider, please submit your suggestion via this link: http://gws.ala.org/suggest-site. If you find broken links, etc. on the site, please alert us to that as well. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Members of the 2015 Great Websites for Kids Committee:

  • Lara Crews, co-chair, Forsyth County (North Carolina) Public Library
  • Lisa Taylor, co-chair, Ocean County (New Jersey) Library
  • Emily E. Bacon, Yorktown (Indiana) Public Library
  • Ariel Cummins, New Braunfels (Texas) Public Library
  • Jill Eisele, Bellwood (Illinois) Public Library
  • Krishna Grady, Darien (Connecticut) Library
  • Joanne Kelleher, Kings Park (New York) Central School District
  • Elizabeth Saxton, Tiffin, Ohio
  • Alia Shields, Cherry Hill (New Jersey) Public Library
  • Sujei Lugo (REFORMA Representative)

 

The post Eight new sites added to Great Websites for Kids appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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25. Yomiuri Prize for Literature

       They recently announced the 67th 読売文学賞, with Furukawa Hideo's 女たち三百人の裏切りの書 taking the fiction prize.
       Furukawa is definitely someone to look out for: Haikasoru brought out his Belka, Why Don't You Bark ? a few years ago (see their publicity page, or get your copy at or Amazon.co.uk), while Columbia University Press is bringing out his Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure shortly (see their publicity page, or get your copy at or Amazon.co.uk). (I have both, and should be getting around to reviewing them.)
       See also the (Japanese) Shinchosha publicity page for the prize-winning title, or the (English) J'Lit Hideo Furukawa page, which also has information about some of his other not-yet-translated titles.

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